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As other, better writers than me have pointed out, this recent election has swept a wave of ultra conservative state legislators into office.  In some states, they have total power.  As those who live in those states are preparing for the worst, one of the first things coming under assault is the basic freedom of women.

And this is NOT a "choice" thing, either.  this is about a "biblical" interpretation of the role of women, as expressed by the most fundamentalist sects out there.  Real Taliban stuff.

This means that a woman's right to determine her own reproductive health care will be the first thing attacked.  States will seek to bring direct challenges to Roe v Wade with the laws they pass.  

But let us take heart.  While these state legislatures will attempt to put so many restrictions on abortions and other reproductive health care that virtually no one will be able to get an abortion, let alone contraceptives, we have a BIG legal argument ready to go that will shatter the dreams of these people.

The argument is simple.  Forcing a woman to give birth when she doesn't want to give birth is slavery.

Here is the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

That's it.  Slavery and involuntary servitude SHALL NOT exist within the United States.

What does that mean?

Well, in United States v. Kozminski,, the SCOTUS defined "involuntary servitude" as:

Situations where a "master" subjects the "servant" to

1.Threatened or actual physical force,
2.Threatened or actual state-imposed legal coercion or
3.Fraud or deceit where the servant is a minor, an immigrant or mentally incompetent.

Pay close attention to number 2.  But more on that later.  Also notice that psychological coercion is not listed.  That, however was happily remedied, thanks in no small part to the Vice President.  The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, P.L. 106-386, which contains the Violence Against Women Act, expands the federal statutes' coverage to cases in which victims are enslaved through psychological, as well as physical, coercion.

So if we have a situation where a person is subjected to physical, psychological, or STATE-IMPOSED coercion, a 13th Amendment case can be built.

So let's examine the case for reproductive rights and the 13th Amendment.  

The act of carrying a child to term is a very physically demanding thing.  Or so I've been told.  Besides the obvious challenges, there are others that are unseen.  My sister in law had to have an amniocentesis  done because she was a potential carrier for some condition.  HUGE risks involved.  Another sister in law, as well as my mother, had severe complications from Rh incompatibility.  My cousin's wife had so many miscarriages they didn't even tell their parents they were pregnant until the fetus was viable.  In addition, there are so many outside influences that can turn a pregnancy into a life or death situation.  And that's not taking into account hormones and the mental stresses being pregnant entails.

And that's just if you WANT to have the child.

We are horrified by stories of young girls sold into sexual slavery all over the world.  Forcing women to carry unwanted or accidental children to term is a form of slavery in that order.  And forcing them to carry that child at the risk of their OWN life is cruel and unusual punishment (Eighth Amendment arguments are another issue).

I am a science fiction reader.  And science fiction is a good milieu to insert allegory or social commentary.  I speak of two societies in particular.  First, for all the Trekkies out there, the Ferengi, while a commentary on our corporate culture, also are a commentary on gender roles.  Theirs is a male dominated society where the women are forced to own NOTHING.  They have no clothes, they are not permitted to conduct ANY kind of business, they cannot participate in any civic atcivity, they are there just for reproduction and the raising of young.  Sound familiar?  There are many so-called "Christian" sects in this country that practically treat "their" women that way.  Second, in Frank Herbert's Dune universe, there is a society that has gone "all the way"--that is, the women are "converted" into nothing more than giant, living wombs, while the women themselves are lobotomized and essentially comatose.

Is this what some of our "leaders" want for women?  I'll leave the hyperbole to you all ;).

So let's get back to that #2 point outlined in Kozminski:  Threatened or actual STATE-IMPOSED LEGAL coercion. The interpretation to mean that a state cannot legislate something into law that is coercive.  Now as has been shown, the act of carrying a child to term is both a physical and mental challenge.  It stresses a person.  You have to WANT to go through it.  Being forced BY LAW to go through the "joys of pregnancy" against one's will certainly falls under the definition of state-imposed legal coercion.  PLUS, there is the added financial burden as well.  Having a child costs money.  Several thousand dollars of money.  By forcing a woman to have a child, the state is forcing that woman to incur debts and costs she may be unable to pay.

So in the end, woman's reproductive rights will probably not be taken away.  A good lawyer can use this argument and win every time.  When blastocyst sentience is proven by science, then there will be another conversation.

So, now we fight on two fronts.  We need to keep watch on making sure Roe isn't overturned, of course, but our prime focus should be on these restrictive laws.  

After all, they will be insidiously written so that nothing in the laws explicitly takes a woman's reproductive rights.  They will just make it next to impossible for a woman to get the procedure done.  We must, in our debates and legal challenges, compel the issue and change the language to what we here have been calling it for some time--forced birth.  

For when all those Bible-thumping people talk about "killing babies" and "abominations" we need to have a physical, concrete example of what they want to achieve, and use the starkest term possible.  Think about it.  Imagine a PSA where you have a young (under 16 is good) pretty white girl preferable blond--think Elizabeth Smart) forced to carry the baby of the (insert racial/ethnic preference du jour) man who raped her.  (Yes, it's an ugly and stereotypical thing to do.  And I apologize for suggesting it.  But only a little.  In fights like this, we ALSO need to play dirty as well.  A little Machiavelli in moderation, as it were.)  And we must constantly use that word.  FORCED.  Forced birth.  It's an ugly sounding term, for an ugly practice.  I've used it in arguments with wingnuts, and they immediately go on the defensive.  And badly, too.  

We rarely have messaging victories.  We rarely have been able to define an issue.  This is a chance for both.

AFTERWORD:  There are some things I haven't touched on.  The so-called "personhood" amendments, for one.  Designed to get around "restrictions" like the 13th Amendment, these would make it possible to call a fertilized egg a "whole and complete person in possession of all the rights and privileges of a citizen".  Which is a very slippery slope--after all, there would be an inquest after each miscarriage or stillbirth to determine "fault".

I also haven't discussed Justice Scalia's recent revelation that he thinks women aren't considered a "protected class" as described by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. I would also take it to mean that he thinks women don't fall under the jurisdiction of the 13th Amendment either.

But these are topics for others to cover.  I'm just here to make a case for reproductive rights as falling under the jurisdiction of the 13th Amendment.

Originally posted to zenbassoon on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:21 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:21:55 AM PST

  •  Very interesting & thought-provoking (5+ / 0-)

    I like it, even though I'm not sure it will fly. Crafting the legal argument will be extremely challenging...

    •  I know law and logic often do not intersect, (4+ / 0-)

      but if you think about it, this is a form of slavery.  Because there is no other way to avoid it.  Take the mandate for example.  You buy insurance, you pay a fee, or you don't.  There is no enforcement mechanism in place if you don't follow the mandate.  If no one performs abortions or other procedures, there is no recourse.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

      by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:39:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank God for Justice Scalia... (7+ / 0-)

    to state that wo(to)men are not protected under the constitution.  Next we'll need other leaders to state that Hispanics, then African Americans, then jews... "wait a minute!!! I'm a 2nd generation Hebrew American!!!  Why am I not covered under the constitution?  What was that, Rep.  Golmert?  because no jews were an original signer of the constitution?  But neither were there any catholics or Mormans.  Oh, you are going after them after the jews".  

    Thank god the wingnut hate is all inclusive.

    I was the youngest in my family growing up therefore I WAS the remote control.

  •  Good diary. (14+ / 0-)

    I am angered at the forced birth folks who treat pregnancy as not much more than an inconvenience.  Here's the reality - another being has taken up residence inside a woman's body.  That being nourishes itself, at the woman's expense, and continues to grow, at the woman's expense, until the woman's body expells it, or, as in some cases it requires surgical removal.  

    And some would say that this is no big deal.  As a colleage of mine once said in reference to a male anti choice legislator, "Yea, why doesn't someone stuff a bowling ball up his ass and ask him if its still no big deal."

    Pregnancy should be voluntary.  Otherwise, as you correctly point out, the state is forcing a woman to give her body to service another.  

    My dogs think triciawyse is smart and pretty. They think I'm a strange, frumpy woman wth limitless snacks.

    by martydd on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:42:45 AM PST

    •  And for all the "personhood people", I say (5+ / 0-)

      bring out a frozen embryo or blastocyst in a petri dish, put it on a table and say "there it is".

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

      by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:45:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course pregnancy is already voluntary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      icemilkcoffee, zenbassoon

      as it is a womans choice to have sex or to not have sex. & people who force a woman to have sex are sent to jail.

      You make 'another being' sound like some kind of parasite that invades the womb rather than being put there by the woman.

      •  So do you believe that if a woman wants to avoid (10+ / 0-)

        becoming pregnant she should be celibate for her whole life?  Because no birth control is 100% effective.  Sex is an integral part of human interaction.  Much of the anti-choice rhetoric is just disguised contempt for women using their sexuality for reasons other then reproduction.

      •  That's not entirely true. (10+ / 0-)

        Look up reproductive coercion. It's more common than you think. Newsweek reported on it last year.

        This month, Miller published a study in the journal Contraception detailing "reproductive coercion," when the male partner pressures the other, through verbal threats, physical aggression, or birth-control sabotage, to become pregnant. According to Miller's research, about a third of women reporting partner violence experienced reproductive coercion, as did 15 percent of women who had never reported violence.

        Overall, rates of reproductive coercion among family-planning-clinic patients are suprisingly high: about one in five women report their partner having attempted to coerce them into pregnancy. "What we're seeing is that, in the larger scheme of violence against women and girls, it is another way to maintain control," says Miller, who studied 1,300 female patients culled from five family-planning clinics in Northern California. "You have guys telling their partners, 'I can do this because I'm in control' or 'I want to know that I can have you forever.' " This may help explain previous findings of higher rates of unintended pregnancies in relationships with partner violence.

        "I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism." -- Sarah Palin

        by Kaili Joy Gray on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:11:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. (7+ / 0-)

        Are you one of the "silly sluts should just keep their legs together" people?

        Women do not put fertilized eggs in their wombs, the fertilized eggs put themselves there.  Often, in spite of precautions the woman has taken to prevent it.

        My dogs think triciawyse is smart and pretty. They think I'm a strange, frumpy woman wth limitless snacks.

        by martydd on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:14:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  consent to sex (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CherryTheTart, zenbassoon

          simply means taking a risk to get pregnant.

          Just as consenting to get in an airplane is not consent to die in a firey crash. But it can happen without my consent anyway. You rolls the dice, you takes your chances.

        •  No (4+ / 0-)

          No, women are not by definition "sluts" if they are sexual.  However, if they are real women they will also acknolwedge that their conduct in having sex is voluntary and acknowledge that every time one has sex one runs the risk of pregnancy.  That's just medical fact, and screaming to the heavens as if somehow this should be a shock to anyone old enough to choose to have sex undermines our credibility when speaking about why legal abortion must remain so.  

          I continue to believe that one of the key reasons we are losing the war in terms of protecting legal abortion is because the most partisan folks on this subject keep trying to pretend that reality is different and that every woman who doesn't want to pregnant bears no responsibility for her condition, to wit that she's been made a "slave."  

          Sorry, but as the descendant of real slaves, who were born into their condition and died in their condition no matter WHAT they chose to do, the argument that lack of access to abortion when you are not a rape victim (and I include incest victims in that group) equals slavery is beyond offensive.

          It will have as much traction trying to change people's minds about abortion as the indiscriminate reference to fetuses as "pieces of meat" that was in vogue here at DailyKOS a couple of years ago.

          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

          by shanikka on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:44:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. But I struggle with... (5+ / 0-)

            not wanting to set up different categories of women who seek abortions. As in, the minor who is raped by her father is entitled to an abortion because she is blameless, but the promiscuous woman who loves sex is somehow less entitled to an abortion because of her responsibility in becoming pregnant.

            This kind of categorization turns into moralizing what kind of sexual behavior is and is not acceptable, which is why I generally refuse to engage in that line of thinking.

            On the other hand, though, as you point out, I also detest the vein of feminism in which all women are victims of the patriarchy, so anything that happens to them is not their fault or responsibility. If a woman consents to having sex, yes, she is accepting the risk of pregnancy. But that seems beside the point in a discussion about reproductive rights. Why, though, that means she should therefore accept the consequence of having to carry that pregnancy to term is another matter.

            I don't have the answer to this, by the way. I don't know how to talk about personal responsibility while at the same time refusing to participate in categorizing different kinds of acceptable or unacceptable abortions. For me, though, the consenting adult should have the same rights to terminate her pregnancy as the raped child.

            "I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism." -- Sarah Palin

            by Kaili Joy Gray on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:56:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Access to healthcare, and abortion is healthcare, (5+ / 0-)

              should not be based on ideas of responsibility.  

              If there is a treatment, it should be available.

              We do not deny healthcare to skydivers because they knew there was a risk the parachute wouldn't open.

              Pregnancy is a possible consequence of sex, but it shouldn't be an inevitable and irreversible consequence of sex.

              My dogs think triciawyse is smart and pretty. They think I'm a strange, frumpy woman wth limitless snacks.

              by martydd on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 12:03:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Well get offended then. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zenbassoon

            I was a young fertile woman before legal medical contraception and abortion. Nothing to do with sex was voluntary for women then. I was enslaved to my biology. And if you don't like my saying that, well tough titty.

            I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

            by CherryTheTart on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 02:35:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are You Claiming (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zenbassoon

              That you were a rape victim each and every time you had sex, then? Because if you aren't, then "nothing to do with sex was voluntary" is just an outright lie.  Moreover, I too am a woman and my mother was a woman and all the women in my family over 60 were women and all of them also had no access to legal contaception or abortion -- and yet all of them are HONEST about their own role in their pregnancies.

              And if you don't like that, tough titty back.  Perhaps you come from a culture that would rather pretend that women are powerless rather than embrace our own agency.  I don't.

              If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

              by shanikka on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 05:43:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am claiming that the culture raped women (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zenbassoon

                both black and white, yellow and red. That women were slaves to their biology and society. Sex affected every single aspect of their lives. We were not even allowed to keep the fruit of our wombs. To say that is not pretending women are powerless. Women rose from that slavery by their own efforts with help from feminist men. And we are still rising.

                About "saying I was a rape victim each time I had sex." check out feminist theorist Andrea Dworkin who said precisely that. She's dead now. She had a lot of interesting things to say.

                I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

                by CherryTheTart on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 06:31:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I Know Andrea Dworkin's Writing Well (3+ / 0-)

                  As well as her intellectual cohort, Catharine McKinnon's.  And do not subscribe to her half-baked idea of heterosexual sex as rape even though I proudly am a womanist.

                  As I said, it's a matter of culture.  Woman as lacking agency and personal power is an idea that will keep us all on the losing side of the gender wars.  It's certainly kept white feminists claimingt they are fighting against being put on a pedastal for more than 100 years while at the same time clinging to it like a life raft when it comes to things like acting as if men might not actually be the primary cause of women's problems.  It's why I personally prefer the theories of Alice Walker, Angela Davis and other womanists (Black feminists) to that tripe.  You might want to look into them.

                  If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                  by shanikka on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:51:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Read them. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    zenbassoon

                    Stop attributing thoughts and attitudes to me that I do not possess.

                    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

                    by CherryTheTart on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 09:18:16 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually, I think my favourite is (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    shanikka, Pandoras Box, zenbassoon

                    Dorothy Roberts "Killing the Black  Body." It is simply an excellent piece of work and the discussion on positive as opposed to negative rights is simply brilliant ... it was wonderful to have someone clearly and legalistically argue a position that I have held for years w/o knowing the formal legal terminology.

                    I agree with you on women having their own agency; of course we know that we can get pregnant if precautions are not taken. But, precautions can be taken, contraceptives do fail all the time and people can change their minds; both choices and responsibility are ultimately ours, but we need to have choices available and not legally prohibited. Even before the advent of modern contraceptives women have always found ways of dealing with the consequences of their sexuality.

                    No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

                    by NY brit expat on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:49:59 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That is My Favorite, Too (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      NY brit expat, zenbassoon

                      Dorothy Roberts has been a visionary in terms of articulating the concept of reproductive justice and analyzing the tension between the negative liberty articulated, whether or not purposefully, by the mainstream abortion rights movement and the more positive rights-based analysis inherent in the reproductive justice movement which makes abortion just one of the planks of women's reproductive rights and treats it equally to all the others - including the right to be able to bear a child free from poverty, discrimination in medical care, etc.

                      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                      by shanikka on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 11:39:29 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  The fetus is in a parastic relationship (4+ / 0-)

        ... to the woman. Consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy.

        I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

        by CherryTheTart on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 12:48:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Excuse me. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CayceP, zenbassoon

        You seem to have some confustion about the sexual act. The sperm is 'put there' as you so delicately put it by a man. A woman receives the sperm.

        So what. I never had to have sex to get pregnant. It was side effect of having sex because I like it.

        I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

        by CherryTheTart on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 02:33:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zenbassoon

          And other than in rape, or failed birth control she voluntarily consents to it being put there.

          So you are the one that seems confused about sex. Myself, I am well aware of the relationship between sperm and egg.  And I support legal abortion.

          I just don't support pretending that apples are oranges.

          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

          by shanikka on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:56:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You think rapists go to jail? (3+ / 0-)

        As though it's widely reported?

        Conviction rates are incredibly low and most women would rather stay silent than endure the agony of reporting.

        Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. -Aristotle

        by CayceP on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 02:54:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  easy way out... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted

    So they just criminalize the desire to have an abortion, and make the punishment 9 months of servitude. :)

  •  Thanks for the diary. (7+ / 0-)

    Good thinking through some of these issues.

    It's too bad that the constitution doesn't satisfactorily address the main, basic point to do with abortion, which is that sometimes for all concerned it just isn't a good time for a woman to have a baby, and all of us in society stand to benefit from children being born to families who want them and are ready to care for them.

    I know multiple adoptive families caring for children whose birth families were not ready to care for them for one reason or another, and the consequences to that are not beautiful or simple as the 'snowflake' types would like to have us believe.

    I've been through 2 pregnancies including 1 c-section and 1 forceps delivery, and I know pregnancy is not easy, but for the most part it's survivable for most women. I don't think it's really necessary to overstate the difficulty and risks of pregnancy. I think the real bottom line is that if someone isn't ready to have a child then it's best all around that she not have it.

  •  just curious (3+ / 0-)

    The draft was involuntary servitude.  How was its constitutionality justified?

  •  who is the master (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, zenbassoon

    if the woman is the slave?

    Who is she involuntarily serving?

  •  The financial burden angle doesn't work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon

    Because the state as of now, does force parents to feed their kids. And that is a good thing. You stop feeding your kids, and the state could charge you with child abuse. Do you really want to call this obligation 'involuntary servitude'?

    •  They make them feed them, and if they can't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box, skohayes

      they become wards of the state and the taxpayer does it.  But a hospital stay to guarantee healthy birth is different than taking care of the child.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

      by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:43:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That part is actually not mandatory (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbassoon

        There is actually no law against anyone having a baby at home, for free. That whole financial burden = slavery angle simply doesn't work.

        In any event that one is a slippery slope. If imposed financial burden can be termed 'slavery' then the right wing will start calling all taxes slavery.

        •  you're missing his point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes, zenbassoon

          zenbassoon (i believe) is referring to forcing a woman to stay in a hospital where she can be WATCHED to be sure she does nothing to endanger the life of the fetus.

          (if i have misinterpreted your comment, zb, i am sorry)

          "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

          by Pandoras Box on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 12:27:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No problem--I was indeed referring (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pandoras Box

            to just general hospital costs for birth.  My point was that if you want to guarantee a healthy birth, you need to go to a hospital or at least hire midwife services.  You can do a home birth, but doing it right ain't cheap.  

            "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

            by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 12:30:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Playing devil's advocate (unfortunately) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon

    Forgive me for this, because I've spent years being indoctrinated by conservatives in an emotionally abusive household and I'm trying to wrap my head around progressive concepts now. So I'm going to try to ask honest questions here, and I'm not meaning to be rude or disrespectful.

    1. How is this different from the Republicans who say that it's slavery if they have to care for the poor? I know it's more physically invasive at least.
    1. How is the "show me a zygote and tell me it's a person" thing any different from "show me a black / disabled person and tell me it's a human being"? I'm looking for arguments that don't apply to people we already agree are human, and/or the moral reasoning behind them.
    1. What about the disability rights aspect, where the existence of prenatal tests for conditions like Down Syndrome results in the termination of something like 90% of Down Syndrome pregnancies, and creates a (choice-removing) obligation to have these tests performed and not "burden yourself or society" by birthing a disabled child? This is of personal concern to me because my mate and I are autistic, and our neurotype isn't too popular either.

    I'm starting to get that there's actual, moral reasons why abortion ought to be legalized (or "safe, legal, and rare"), and I don't want the American Taliban making the rules in any case. They just keep shouting their slogans, and ignoring the people and reasoning behind the other side's viewpoints. I'm just trying to convince myself that that's not the case the other way around too. >.> Any help would be appreciated.

    •  Well (5+ / 0-)

      I don't necessarily have a specific answer for all your questions, because I'm not sure 'slavery' is the best frame. However, as I commented above, for me the bottom line is that I believe what is best for children, families, and society is for children to arrive in homes where they are wanted and cared for, and there are mountains of evidence that when that doesn't happen there often are very negative consequences for the individual child and for society as a whole. Caring about children means caring about the environment in which they are raised.  

      •  Okay, so please tell me ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbassoon

        ... how that doesn't mean that people that nobody cares about shouldn't exist. Or shouldn't be brought into being. Because you could use the "quality of life" argument to justify cutting off support to anybody, including poor and disabled people.

        If a fetus is not a person then that would probably make it okay, but it'd also obviate the need for that argument to begin with. Is what my brain is telling me. Please tell me how I'm wrong, because I'm really getting creeped out.

        •  a fetus is not a person (5+ / 0-)

          the woman carrying a fetus IS a person

          sometimes its just about not bringing another mouth to feed into the world.

          many many women who seek abortions already HAVE children and simply cannot afford to raise any more

          "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

          by Pandoras Box on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 01:46:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Poor and disabled people (5+ / 0-)

          are already here. We need to do the best we can to care for the people who are here.

          A fetus is a potential person, but in my opinion is not a person yet and thus does not get the full protections that those who are here already get.

          This whole issue, in my view, is a lot more gray than your comments suggest you want it to be. You want it to be black and white. You want there to be one single right answer (birth/life) for everybody and all situations.

          I don't believe that is the case.

          Why shouldn't two people, potential parents, have the right to decide what is the best thing for them, and whether they are ready to care for a child right now? Don't they know the answer to that better than we do? I'm going to give potential parents some credit for knowing what the best situation is.

        •  Well, get creeped out. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandoras Box, zenbassoon

          If world temp rises four degrees, we are talking world wide famine. Ever heard of the concept of triage? The weakest are killed so the tribe can survive. The rule of law and relative wealth keep us from having to make those kinds of decisions here and now. We have been lucky so far.

          I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

          by CherryTheTart on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 06:20:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  PS (disturbing web search results) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbassoon

        I Googled "if a fetus is not a person" and got abortionisprolife.com's faq, which quoted Ayn Rand at the top and talked about how capitalism dictates that nobody has the right to live off of another human being. That's kind of why I'm getting creeped out from seeing progressives saying the same thing.

    •  Republicans are not caring for the poor (3+ / 0-)

      So how could something that doesn't happen be called slavery? If they're worried about their tax dollars being used to care for the poor, well, sorry guys, but I pay school taxes, and I don't have children. My taxes go to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I definitely do not support that. That's what happens in this country, you pay taxes and the government decides how to spend them.

      How is the "show me a zygote and tell me it's a person" thing any different from "show me a black / disabled person and tell me it's a human being"?

      Well, that black person and that disabled person are living human beings with rights, with a brain and a heart, and a life. Zygotes are a collection of cells that may or may not end up as a human being.

      What about the disability rights aspect, where the existence of prenatal tests for conditions like Down Syndrome results in the termination of something like 90% of Down Syndrome pregnancies, and creates a (choice-removing) obligation to have these tests performed and not "burden yourself or society" by birthing a disabled child?

      I'm sure you've got a source for this statistic, right? Because frankly, it sounds completely made up. Only 15 states require reporting on the reason that women have an abortion, so could one get that number from such incomplete reporting?

      How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

      by skohayes on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 02:38:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, there are statistics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbassoon

        Like this abstract linked to on Wiki.

        I'm seriously not trying to start a fight here, I'm trying to resolve my cognitive dissonance. I hope it's not offensive for me to tell you your answers aren't helping. All human beings are "a collection of cells" that may or may not end up as what we're okay with calling a person. I'm not okay with using appearance, cognitive capacity, or the relative convenience of caring for them as the determining factor, when all of those have been used against people we're both agreed are human.

        And you don't have to point out Republican hypocrisy and short-sightedness to me. I was thinking of the dumb commercials with Abraham Lincoln calling social welfare programs "slavery." ("Gather ... your ... armies." :P )

        •  Ok (4+ / 0-)

          If you're going to instantly overrule all potential pro-choice arguments as inconsistent, why don't we go about this from another angle.

          Is there any case that you think an abortion is justifiable?
          An ectopic pregnancy?
          A pregnancy which results in an infant whose health condition is incompatible with life (eg one of the serious trisomy conditions like trisomy 21)?
          A pregnancy in which the fetus has anencephaly?
          A pregnancy in which the woman has eclampsia and is likely to die without it?
          A pregnancy resulting from incestuous rape?

          is there any time when you would think it is justifiable?

          If not, then we might as well stop arguing because we are never going to agree.

          If so, then you do think abortion is ok in certain circumstances and the only question is how far are you willing to go.

        •  It cost 150K without college per child (4+ / 0-)

          ... to raise them to maturity. I have raised 3 as a single parent.

          I do not give a shit if you are not 'okay with the relative convenience of caring for them.' I abort what I cannot afford to raise. Raising the three I had nearly killed me. It is pretty 'inconvenient' to starve as four when you can eat decently with only three. Semi starvation is pretty 'inconvenient.'

          I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

          by CherryTheTart on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 06:16:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That abstract doesn't say (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandoras Box, zenbassoon

          that 90% of Down syndrome pregnancies are terminated.

          How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

          by skohayes on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:35:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I actually think that number is (4+ / 0-)

            about right. I've read the same thing.

            What that says to me is that potential parents faced with the challenge of raising a child who may have serious lifelong health and cognitive problems, generally choose not to go down that road.

            The vast majority of Americans, including, I'm sure, many who are not generally comfortable with abortion, choose not to take that on. Which means that if you (feathertail) are against people having this option, you are in the extreme minority.

            Who are we to force them into this very serious lifelong commitment? And the answer isn't a simple "They could give it up for adoption" because there is not a big market for disabled adoptees.

            How many of these children would end up institutionalized or in foster care if they were born alive?

            •  What may be true (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zenbassoon

              is that of the women who can afford to get amniocentesis done, and then should the fetus test positive for DS (or any of the other four diseases that abstract talked about including anencephaly, which is fatal), then those women have abortions at a rate of 90% to 92% (according to the abstract).
              However, the abstract itself only used 20 studies from over a 20 year period, where the sample size is 5 or above, so it's hardly an accurate measure of the number of women who abort terminal or disabled fetuses.

              How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

              by skohayes on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 10:12:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Testing (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                skohayes, zenbassoon

                The standard for pregnant women nowadays is to have a blood screen (AFP or quad screen) as part of their basic blood screening early in pregnancy that identifies the risk of certain conditions - Down syndrome and neural tube defects. Then if you are above a certain threshold they recommend an amnio, or chorionic villus sampling (which can be done earlier than amnio), and/or an early ultrasound where they measure the nuchal fold thickness (neck). Plus, women who are over 35 at birth are often recommended to get an amnio. So it's not just women who can afford an amnio who get diagnosed prior to birth any more; I suspect it is probably easily the majority of pregnancies with those conditions.

                Of the remaining 10% who did not terminate there will be some in there who decided to keep the baby anyway, and some who were never diagnosed based on a younger age and a false negative blood screen.

                This article from 2009 states,

                In an international meta-analysis using data from the USA, UK, New Zealand, France, and Singapore, approximately 92% of women who receive a definitive prenatal diagnosis of DS choose to terminate their pregnancies.20

  •  It's not even really about birth, it's about sex (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martydd, CayceP, CherryTheTart, zenbassoon

    The Taliban is terrified of sex. They don't want people having it, at least not women, or gay people. The thought of people having sex gives them the heebie-jeebies and makes them feel dirty inside. So they want to outlaw it. THey want people to be punished for it, and thus to be forced to have children they can't afford, or otherwise keep their naughty bits covered and stop having sex.

  •  Involuntary Servitude (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, zenbassoon

    I mentioned this argument to an abortion rights lawyer about 20 years ago and she refused it out of hand.  It's a logical extension of one point of view and something of reductio ad absurdum reasoning.  Provocative indeed but I don't know if it will be useful in the long run.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 01:19:04 PM PST

  •  Roe v. Wade is based on (3+ / 0-)

    the right to privacy, enumerated in the Constitution. I think we should stick with that one.
    Tipped and rec'd, because there's some good discussion here.

    How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

    by skohayes on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 02:46:40 PM PST

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